How to Pray when It’s Just So Hard
The videos and images from Houston and southeast Texas this week have been hard to watch. It’s heartbreaking to see families who have lost loved ones, watched their homes get destroyed, or are having to spend nights on end in a shelter due to Hurricane Harvey. Watching the disaster unfold can make us feel helpless. Sometimes, you may find yourself wanting to pray, but not even knowing how. When it’s hard to pray, that’s a good indication it’s probably the best time to do so. As the old saying goes, “Pray hardest when it’s hardest to pray.” So, how do we actually do that?
Don’t worry about trying to sound eloquent. Some of us may have grown up in households where we feel like we have to pray in “King James”. Others of us may feel inferior to people who seem to have words flow off their tongue eloquently. Some of just have no idea what we should say to the creator of the universe when we’re feeling defeated. But Scripture tells us that God already knows what’s on our hearts. He’s just waiting for us to bring it to Him.
“There is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” -Psalm 139:4
Remember, prayer shouldn’t be our last resort. Yet, how many times have you tried to handle everything on your own before taking it to God? God reminds us to pray first, before ever making a step. Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying, “Lord, help me.” Sometimes, you may have to seek the answer more than once. Sometimes, God may answer your prayer in a different way than you expected.
Finally, remember to trust Jesus. He tells us He wants to work on our behalf:
“All that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” – Mark 11:24
He’s telling us he’ll answer our prayer because He wants to guide us in every way. He is faithful, and He’s calling us to be faithful too. That doesn’t mean he’s going to give you a million dollars just because you ask nicely, but He wants to know the prayers of your heart. And He wants you to share your heart for other people.
Watching the news of Harvey can be devastating. It can make you feel powerless. But even if you don’t know what to pray, just open your heart to God. Tell Him what’s hurting your heart. Tell Him about your burdens, and your struggles. Whether it’s for the people in southeast Texas or people in your own home, give it to God. In turn, you’ll find you may have just prayed one of your most beautiful and eloquent prayers.